A Photography Lesson In Cropping

This morning I went to a famous Tulsa park. There really isn’t much colorful foliage here. So I went for the flowers and whatever else I could find. So I could give you a photography lesson in cropping.

I took 239 photos. I was in heaven. 

I’m never happier than when I’m looking through that camera lens and taking photos. And then sitting down at my computer editing those photos.

So I thought I’d show you how I make a photo look very different just by cropping it in Picmonkey, which is the photo editing site of my choice. 

When you take outdoor photos, usually it doesn’t need much editing. 

Here we go…

I think this is a pretty nice photo as it is. Lots of texture. Sun shining through the petals. 

But when your photo comes out of the camera, it is oftentimes over 3000 pixels. Do you know how long that takes to load on a blog? 

You need to resize all your photos so that it doesn’t take forever for someone to load your blog in order to read it. Or they might not come back!

I size all my pics down to 600 pixels on Picmonkey.

Then when I post it on Blogger, I click the option Original so that my photos are all lined in a uniform fashion.

Cropping is particularly important when I take photos of birds way up in trees.

Slightly different. Nothing dramatic here. Let’s do another one.

And now I’ve cropped this photo…

I often like to edit photos where all of the subject matter is not showing. Like the flower below, the edges are cropped off. I think it provides more interest.

And another straight out of the camera, but resized down to 600 pixels.

And now I’ve cropped. I also tweaked the contrast just a tad. Utilize your photo editing site to make your photos better. Sharpen, add clarity, lighten or darken the photo. I usually lighten.

And now after cropping…

And now…

And one more…

I wish I’d thought to do this lesson before I cropped the roses. Because the cropping effect was very dramatic with that particular photo. 

But this just goes to show you that you can do so much with a photo. Sometimes I start out with one photo. And I end up with 3 photos due to cropping various areas of it. 

If you resize to say, 600 pixels, as I do, then make sure you keep the original photo and you can keep cropping.

When I am finished with a photo, I name it something like: 600park1, and the second photo would be 600park2. If you don’t designate them specifically in some way, you won’t know which ones are resized and ready to be posted on your blog.

Anyway, a picture is worth a 1000 words, right? And you can make it look like a thousand bucks if you want!

Happy snapping and cropping!


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  1. What gorgeous photos, Brenda, and fabulous tips!!! You're just so smart and talented – we're lucky to have you share your wisdom with us!! Big hugs!!

  2. It's thanks to you for telling me how to do this when I came back to blogging or my pictures would still look horrid 🙂


  3. My digital photos are a mess. I need a tutorial 101 on how to organize them! Thanks for the information. Your photos are amazing.

    1. I have my photos on my Desk Top only. I upload them there by month and year. That makes it easier to go back and find what I need. I truly believe the number one way to excel at photography is the same as it is for writing: the more you do it, the better you get at it.

  4. Brenda,
    This was lovely and educational, you did a great job of combining both- a true educator at heart, I think.
    Well, I would personally enjoy seeing more of your tutorials on photography, you know I did mention to you that you had a talent and you do.
    I just recently took an online photography course which I enjoyed too-we all want to learn more on the secrets to a good photo.
    I am so glad that you enjoyed yourself too and I enjoyed your photos!

  5. I had to smile when you said how happy you are as you have a load of photos to edit. I feel the same and would be lost without my picmonkey royale or photoscape. I love the clone tools, cropping, highligting etc. and always edit size for quick loading on the blog and my etsy shoppe. So many don't realize you can enlarge your photos when placing it in a post. It's fun to do and makes such a difference. Thanks for sharing. Great pics. cm

    1. I used to use Photoscape quite a bit, but with all the great things they've added to Picmonkey, I just use that now. The number one thing I see in new blogs is small photos. This is eye candy and needs to be large.

  6. I wonder if this can be done in Picasa editing. I need to really do something because I think my pics are too many pixels, thus too much load time. When I export them as smaller pixels in Picasa they end up fuzzy on the blog.
    I will try pic monkey Brenda.

    1. ok…just fyi, if you use picasa will let you reduce the pixel size. Then you export it to the folder of your choice. I will try this for my pics Brenda as I am afraid my pics take too long to load. Sheila

    2. It's important that your blog doesn't take too much time to load. You can go to Pingdom Tools and see how long it takes to load.

    1. No, not necessarily. I could size mine at 600 pixels, then add them to a post and hit X-Large, and they'd look different than if I hit Large. The pixels are the many, many units, let's say, that make up a photo. But coming straight out of the camera, it's usually over 3000, as I wrote above. And that's way too many for our needs. Because the more pixels, the longer it takes to load the blog.

    1. I didn't know that for a long time. I used to size mine on Blogger at X-Large. But if you do Original, they will be exactly the same size all the way down your blog. And I like that uniform look.

  7. So enjoyed your pics. I try, but my hands shake so I am lucky if my pictures have heads on the people. I don't know how to do all of those neat things that you do, so thank you for sharing your photos with all of us. Blessings, Carolyn in Florida

    1. Have you tried leaning up against something, or sitting down. Sometimes I do that. I might lean up against a tree or the wall. You could get a tripod. But I like to go out and take photos and wouldn't want to haul it around.

    1. I just never really saw the point. If someone wants it bad enough, I've heard they can probably take it off with Photoshop. And I just plain don't like to obscure anything in my photo with a watermark. I just hate it when someone puts the watermark in a very noticeable spot. Ruins the photo for me. Guess I'm a purist in the regard!

    2. That's exactly why I don't do it. If someone wants my silly pictures bad enough, they'll figure out how to do it regardless if I have a watermark. Besides, I don't think enough of my own photography to worry about it lol

    1. It was done with my camera. For years I've had a Canon Digital Rebel. Probably 7 years old now. What you do is this: Hold down the button enough to focus. Move this way and that. When you move, it will automatically change what it is focusing on, thus changing what blurs out. That's how you get a different blurry effect on different things. I always just use Standard Mode and never use flash. I'm to lazy to learn manual!

    2. I remember depth of field from a photography class I took many years ago at the Southwest Craft Center in San Antonio, TX. We actually used film! And chemicals to develop it! Such good memories of a wonderful experience…..

  8. This is a great tutorial Brenda! I always have to remind myself to take a wider shot rather than zooming in because I like just to zoom in on something when I'm photographing it. And when you zoom in on a photo you can't crop it, lol

    1. Depends. Even when you zoom in, straight out of the camera it's probably going to be over 3000 pixels. So you could crop part of a flower. Or part of the scenery, etc. As long as you've got that many pixels to start out with, you can pretty much do what you want.

    2. Then after I crop and save that pic, while still in Picmonkey, I hit the arrow that makes it go backwards. Then I look at Resize and if I'm back to the original size, say 2500-3000, then I can start cropping all over again.

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